EG Flag Football Celebrates 10 Years

by | Sep 5, 2023

By Roz Bassen-Alexander

The East Greenwich Flag Football League (EGFFL) has been a popular fixture of our town’s athletics community since its founding in 2013. This year, the league is celebrating a decade of weekly flag football games and family fun. 

The league started out in 2013 with only 55 kids playing at Rocky Hill Country Day School on Sunday afternoons. EGFFL had no affiliation with the town of East Greenwich until 2016, when the board established it as a nonprofit organization, joining the other official youth leagues of the town. The league has grown tremendously since its first years, now boasting about 600 players and attracting many others to watch their traditional “Friday Night Lights” games. The Friday games were born with the league itself, and have since overflowed onto Thursdays as well to accommodate the league’s expansion. These games are played all over town on any field with lights – hence the name.  

Flag football has gained in popularity in recent years because the physical contact is limited to pulling flags off players’ belts. And Mike McCall, president of the league, noted other aspects of the league that have made it so successful.

“I think what is most attractive about our sport/league – for parents and players – is it’s only a one-night per week time commitment, boys and girls get to play in the same division,” said McCall, “and kids get to play football without the physical contact associated with tackle football, which might discourage some of them from ever trying football to begin with.”

John Lacek and Charlotte Barrett, both students at Cole Middle School, have been participating for much of their childhoods. They say they appreciate the inclusivity of the league, as it is open to both boys and girls and has a Challenger program specifically for players with disabilities. 

Former president of the league Mike Gormley also commented on the growth of the Challenger program, which has progressed from five or six players to about 20 now. He explained that the Challenger team is the only team in the league called the Patriots, and they have a lot of community involvement through “buddies” and other volunteers. With the Challenger program and wide range of players, the EGFFL strives to be as inclusive as possible. “If you’re not a good athlete, it doesn’t matter, you can still play [and] you can still support your teammates… It makes it a good experience for all the  kids involved and the parents,” Gormley added.

Although the league only extends to age 14, players older than that still find ways to come back and participate as well. Former player Griffin Clark, a 2023 graduate of EGHS, joined the league in 2014 and played all the way until 2019 and continued to referee games until his senior year of high school. He won championships in his first and last years playing in the league, calling it “a feel-good experience” for him.

As for the future of the EGFFL, current president Mike McCall hopes to grow, though the league has its restrictions. “The hardest thing to do is to say no to a kid…. One of the things we’re limited by in the town is the number of fields that have lights…. We would love to be at 700 or 800 kids eventually, but it’s all about the field space that we have,” McCall said. That means they will need fieldsto hold them. 

If anyone wishes to attend a game this fall, the schedule for the upcoming season is available at https://www.egflag.com.

Editor’s note: This story was amended at 10:10 a.m. 9/6/23.

2022 RI State Tourney Champs: EGFFL 12U Girls Division. Credit: EGFFL

EG Flag Football Challenger Division in 2019. Credit: EGFFL

Friday Night Lights EG Flag Football at Eldredge. Credit: EGFFL

Roz Bassen-Alexander is a rising sophomore at East Greenwich High School.

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Bruce
Bruce
September 6, 2023 7:27 am

Not quite Muckleball in the Mud, but a good way to expose and train future Avengers for the toils
of high school football.
Good Luck with the program.

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